It might seem hard to imagine that a soft-spoken father, minister and composer could be one of the most important figures to millions of children. But ask just about anyone born after 1965—and their parents and grandparents—about Fred Rogers and you’re likely to get a smile, a happy sigh and perhaps a few bars of the theme song to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
The famously cardigan-clad Fred McFeely Rogers was the man behind that show, which brought to life his dream of educating and inspiring children and families through mass media.
Rogers graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music composition from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, in 1951. He launched his career in broadcast television with NBC as assistant producer for “The Voice of Firestone” and later as floor director for several music-themed programs, “The Lucky Strike Hit Parade,” “The Kate Smith Hour” and the “NBC Opera Theatre.”
In 1953 Rogers moved back to Pennsylvania at the request of WQED, the nation’s first community-sponsored educational television station. One of the first programs he produced there was called “The Children’s Corner.” It was here that several of his original characters—which would later become familiar faces on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”—made their first appearances.
While in Pittsburgh, Rogers attended both the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Child Development. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963.
Rogers first appeared as an on-air host on a brief show he developed for Canada’s CBC, called “Misterogers.” In 1966 he acquired the rights to “Misterogers” and expanded it into a new series, called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which was distributed by the Eastern Educational Network. When it concluded production in 2000, after almost 900 episodes, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was the longest-running program on public television.
Rogers was chairman of Family Communications Inc., the nonprofit company that he formed in 1971 to produce “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The company later diversified to produce non-broadcast materials that reflect the same philosophy and purpose: to encourage the healthy emotional growth of children and their families. Today the company is called The Fred Rogers Company in honor of its founder.
Fred Rogers died on February 27, 2003, at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His legacy lives on in generations of viewers and their parents who learned from Mister Rogers to be curious, to be caring, and to be kind. Most of all, Rogers sought to build bridges among his viewers, whom he taught by example to reach out with a simple and enduring question: “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
Friendship. Pass It On!
This billboard about Friendship features Mister Fred Rogers (1928-2003); television host, educator, minister, songwriter.
Pass It On®
Bishop from River falls OCTOBER 12, 2023
It's Daniel Tiger's neighborhood!😂
Veronica R. Cook from Illinois SEPTEMBER 20, 2023
I loved that man. As an adult with kids in school I watched him. Life seemed simple in those days.
Bailey Fox from Plymouth, Michigan JUNE 20, 2023
I love and miss you 😘 Mr. Rogers
Teresa Brownlee from Dubois, PA MAY 9, 2022
I love this billboard and would like Mr. Rodgers posters for my classroom and billboards in my town!
ISAAC LIRA SEPTEMBER 21, 2021
i like the friendship billboard because i have very good friends and friends are like family once you get to know them.
Fatima Cotton from Las Vegas, Nevada SEPTEMBER 2, 2021
Mr. Rogers left a legacy.
Kanisha from SanFrancisco,California JULY 22, 2021
Bailey Fox from Plymouth,Michigan MARCH 15, 2021
I miss you 😘 Mr. Rogers
Monica C from Mechanicsburg PA FEBRUARY 24, 2021
I don't know how long these billboards have been up, but I saw it recently for the first time. It was really nice to see!
Dorothy Othersen from Indiana JANUARY 15, 2021
Other pass it on. Very interesting
June from Pittsburgh DECEMBER 7, 2020
One of the greatest humans ever. He is missed but will always be in our hearts ♥️
logan from selingrove NOVEMBER 20, 2020
he was a good man
Anonymous OCTOBER 2, 2020
I am only ten and I have watched Mr. Rogers all the time! We miss you, neighbor.
Jenna Herritt from Kent state APRIL 14, 2020
Best tribute ever.
Jacque lang from Seattle APRIL 10, 2020
He was inspiring! Thank you for his tribute
Anonymous from Detroit lakes,man DECEMBER 20, 2018
Wish we’d have more men like him
Anonymous JULY 22, 2018
Wish we had more role models like him today.
Hannah from Washington State APRIL 9, 2018
A man that have helped and have been loved by so many people, I included. He is the face of kindness and forever will be. We will continue to show our children who this man was, and they will pass it to their children. I hope the legacy this man has left behind will never fade, for he his almost the only piece of hope the world has left.
Your Name from Location JANUARY 18, 2018
Mr Rogers is the og
CJ from AR SEPTEMBER 1, 2017
Brad from Tacoma,Wa AUGUST 19, 2017
I grew up watching him! Truly one of the stable faces in my life.
Jimi from N.H. SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
always felt so safe while watching his show, wish I could get that same feeling again , even for a short moment
Bryan from Anaheim AUGUST 19, 2016
I will always remember him for his quote, a good man who made a show and famous for his sign off at the end.
brodie from ohio MARCH 1, 2016
he will always be our neighbor in our hearts
brodie from 44094 MARCH 1, 2016
i love mr rogers, he was such a good man he made my heart happy but why did he have to die? he was a good man, he will always be my neighbor in my heart
Anonymous FEBRUARY 11, 2016
im very sad that he died, and he has always been an inspiration to me.
anonymous from Na FEBRUARY 11, 2016
Mister Rogers Rules!!!!!!!
hank JANUARY 26, 2016
Sam NOVEMBER 22, 2015
He is one of the most positive people in the world. He brings out goodness in people and that help the world!
Mary from NC OCTOBER 5, 2015
This was such a good show. So wholesome and and educational. I grew up watching it, and I think it was one of the few good programs on PBS. I still love it at age 17, and I really miss hearing his voice.
Jocelyn from School APRIL 22, 2014
Erin from School APRIL 17, 2014
That was the most kind thing i ever seen
Ohodgee Nieves from Hartford,CT FEBRUARY 15, 2014
I miss Mr. Fred Rogers and his neighborhood and I remember when he says it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood and won't you be my neighbor and every time he sings the songs he always changes from his dress shoes to his tennis shoes (sneakers). He was a great guy.
Steph from P.A FEBRUARY 12, 2014
I miss this show, i always whatched it when it was on. im 14 and i still remember this guy. I LOVE HIS SHOW,
marcel from school OCTOBER 15, 2013
he was my hero
Dori from Antelope, Ca SEPTEMBER 7, 2013
love this program with the bill boards!
Michael Bassett from East Hampton ny JULY 30, 2013
His show should be mandatory to watch for school children today
Eli from california MAY 28, 2013
I loved his show.I watched all the time, I`m was very sad when he died.
mike russell from manchester, CT MARCH 11, 2013
I really liked this show! I would still watch it if it was still showing.
Helena Korma from Green Bay FEBRUARY 20, 2013
I miss you Mister Rodgers :(
Ralph from Rochester, NY FEBRUARY 19, 2013
My wife and I live in a distressed neighborhood, where there are a lot of families with children living below the poverty line. For years, my wife and her mother never really got friendly with any of the neighbors, and after my daughter was born, I decided that we shouldn't be afraid to go outside once in a while. My wife, emboldened by our outdoor activities, got a grant to purchase books and started a summer reading program on our porch. My mother-in-law got into the act, purchasing child-sized chairs at local thrift stores, and helping my wife obtain large quantities of books to give away. The impact is that we have more respectful neighbors, an atmosphere that is friendly rather than detached, and hopefully the books that the children get to have and keep will help them along to become better readers, more active students and more successful adults. If you want to have a friend, BE ONE. Be the change you want to see in the world. And finally, will you be mine, won't you be mine, won't you be my neighbor?
Joanne Hecht from Illinois FEBRUARY 4, 2013
When America lost Fred Rogers she lost her morals and values.Feel sad for the kids growing up in today's society. Miss you Fred Rogers.
Samuel Peden from Oklahoma City, Ok APRIL 21, 2012
I first saw Mr. Rogers in 1953 when I was 7 years old growing up in Oakland, California (near San Francisco). He said, "I am going to be your big brother" and I ran to my grandmother and told her, "Grandma I have a big brother now!" At that time I was an only child an this was a wish come true. This was a long time ago but I will always have fond memories. I never met Mr. Rogers But he will always be my big brother!
Renard from Los Angeles MAY 29, 2011
As a youngster I enjoyed Mister Rogers. I would play MRN the program with a lego toy man, put pretend furniture on the bed and just play like he is hosting it. Miss that.
Heidi Metz from Pittsburgh, PA MARCH 14, 2011
I pass two of these billboards on a weekly basis in my travels to and from work. I use the teachings of Mr. Rogers everyday in my preschool class and it is an inspirational way to start and end my day when I see this huge picture of my neighborhood hero. It makes me smile everyday!
Sarah from New York FEBRUARY 14, 2011
Wow. Sooo amazing!
WILLAM FRENGIN from HARTFORD FEBRUARY 7, 2011
Awww I miss him!
Cassidy Shaydik from Los Angels,California JANUARY 31, 2011
Dude,This old man is top dogg!! He has the best sweaters EVER! Gotta love this man! (:
Gabriel D. from Ohio JANUARY 9, 2011
Thanks for this billboard. Mr. Rogers is my hero. Truly his show is one of the landmark shows of all time. He helped kids realize that they are great being who they are and that everyone has the potential to be a light in the world. He taught real values and showed the world that optimism is something that can make everyone a bit happier. He's a better man than I could ever hope to be. God bless you, Mr. Rogers!
Maribethe from South Carolina DECEMBER 7, 2010
Mister Rogers did so much for the global community. I'm so glad to see him being honored in such a way! I'm sure he would be very humbled.
Jan K. from Milton-Freewater, Oregon SEPTEMBER 3, 2010
I wanted to thank you for the Mr. Rogers billboard on your website. He is one of my heroes. I live in northeastern Oregon about 30 miles from Pendleton, Oregon. Thank you again for your campaign for values.
Rhonda C. from Snellville, GA JULY 10, 2010
Praise God for Mr. Rogers who showed us how to love, share and forgive. I was so thrilled to see the billboard, which made me log on to the site. We all can learn (again) these life lessons that he taught so well. We all need to revisit those wonderful truths of being the best that we can be, just by being kind and understanding. Thank God for Mr. Rogers, a true example of how to love your neighbor as yourself. I want to live my life by his warm, heartfelt lessons.
Jeanie S. from Jacksonville, FL JUNE 18, 2010
I grew up in Pittsburgh where we love Mr. Rogers. I truly believe that if more people had Mr. Rogers' loving attitude toward children that the world would be a much better place. I'm so happy to see this billboard, it gives me hope.
Carol, P from Los Angeles, CA JUNE 1, 2010
This billboard was the highlight of our recent trip to Phoenix from LA. My 5 year old son has Down syndrome and loves Mr. Rogers. He spotted the billboard when I stopped for a potty break. My son will tell you that when he grows up he is going to "be Mr. Rogers because Mr. Rogers has ideas". Thanks for a great moment in a long boring car ride (and several hours of conversation).
Rachel A. from Denver, CO MAY 19, 2010
Glad you like the billboard. You can print a 8.5x11" image of the billboard from your home computer (values.com/pass-it-on-downloads). If you want a full sized billboard, please email the Foundation (values.com/about-us/contact-us). Thanks!
Keith Leistekow from Sheboygan, Wisconsin MAY 18, 2010
Question, I just spotted this billboard locally and having a large fence that is seen from the street, I was wondering if it is possible to get a copy of it for placement? Lamar Outdoors is the company used locally. Would I have to request this through them?
My wife once met Mr. Rogers when she was a small child - huge loss, bigger impact was he.